Athlete turned musician: real-life Troy Bolton

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Mikaela Rabizadeh opinion editor

When he’s not tearing up the basketball court, varsity boys basketball shooting guard Matt Liner is in his room recording verses, spitting bars and creating his own original sound. Juggling both basketball and music, Liner is living proof that Troy Bolton’s jock-musician fairytale is not so farfetched.

“I feel like music and basketball mesh together. A lot of times when we are playing ball, we play music and it helps us with basketball. And in the same way, my music helps me with basketball. They coexist with one another,” Liner said.

Currently, Liner is using SoundCloud as the main platform for sharing his music, but he does not refer to himself as a “SoundCloud rapper,” nor does he base his music off the vulgar themes common in rap music today.

“I don’t talk about degrading women or money. I don’t talk about popping pills– none of that stuff because it just doesn’t apply to me,” Liner said. “A lot of these guys are coming up from harsher neighborhoods and I’m coming from Beverly Hills. So people are like, ‘You can’t be a rapper. You’re from Beverly Hills!’ which is not true because music isn’t about where you’re from. It’s about what you’re feeling.”

His younger brother, sophomore Will Liner, admires his brother’s passion for music and how he does not stick to the status quo within the rap genre.

“He’s unique in a way that separates himself from these new-style rappers because he includes R&B vocals mixed with rap for a versatile flow,” he said. “I like how he’s steering away from the so called ‘violent rap’ and trying to create a name for himself by promoting more important and appropriate things like hard work and love.”

Instead of rapping about drug-use and obscenities, Liner draws influences from his family and relationships, focusing on a more wholesome message. His appreciation for all genres of music lends to his sound, as he uses elements that are not always specific to the hip-hop movement.

“I made a song called ‘Das My Mama’ and it’s really viby, it’s really jazzy.  I like real instruments, the soothing sound of a saxophone,” Liner said. “The song’s about my mom, how she’s a strong woman, how she has raised us, how she’s doing a good job raising us, telling her that I love her.”

As a close friend to Liner, junior Jeanne Stuart applauds his dedication as a musician. She enjoys being a part of Liner’s support system and watching him grow as an artist.

“With his admirable energy and personality, people will want to help him on his journey,” Stuart said. “He has so much potential to become successful and get far, and it clearly shows in how committed he is.”

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